BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - For 10 minutes, the reporters behaved. Here to interview Katie Holmes and Michael Caine, they asked dutiful questions about their new film, Batman Begins.
Holmes offered the usual pat answers. "It was such a thrill to be a part of this cast," she gushed. "It was great working with Christian [Bale, as Batman]. He's such a professional and very dedicated."
Oh, tell us more!
Everyone, of course, really wanted to ask Holmes about her boyfriend, mega-star Tom Cruise, who has not exactly been shy about declaring his love for her. But would Holmes explode at such questions and storm out of the room? No one wanted to take that chance. Finally, a reporter sidled up to the subject, asking Holmes if she would be in Mission: Impossible III, the new Cruise film set to begin filming in weeks.
"I'm going to be on the set of Mission: Impossible III," she said coyly.
The door apparently open, the pack filed in: How, one reporter asked, was she holding up under the media glare - and skepticism - over their coupling?
"Are you kidding?!" Holmes said. "I've never been happier. I'm so happy. Thank you for asking."
Has Tom seen Batman Begins?
"He loves it. He's really, really excited about it."
Would Tom be interested in playing the Caped Crusader?
"Well, he's my hero."
Before anyone could groan, Caine helpfully added, "I saw them kissing in the corridor just now."
You could hear the journalists gasp. Tom. Here?
"Yup, that would be me. And him," Holmes said, giggling.
The two have been flaunting their relationship everywhere. There was Cruise's much-discussed couch-jumping appearance on Oprah on May 23. Then, the hallway snuggling at Holmes' Batman Begins junket, followed days later by a meal at the Ivy Restaurant, at a prime outdoor table convenient to the paparazzi snapping pictures and passers-by gawking. And, this week, promoting Batman in London, Holmes' announcement that she's converting to Scientology, Cruise's religion.
There was also the MTV Movie Awards this month, where Holmes, 26, presented Cruise, 42, with a lifetime achievement award. In introducing him, she said, "Do you people want the truth? Do you really want the truth?" She brought Cruise out. He hugged her and kissed her chastely on the cheek.
For her part, Holmes was somewhat evasive during an appearance on David Letterman's show last week. Though she dodged some questions, including one about how they met, she called Cruise "sexy" and "my man" and said she was "touched" and "overwhelmed" by his over-the-top performance on Oprah.
"He is the most amazing man in the whole world," she said. Later she asked Letterman, "Do I have to get on the chair? Do I have to show the world how I feel?"
Actually, we've got a pretty good idea already.